Start off with what you know how to do. Competitive research is a big piece when starting from scratch. What works well, what doesn’t, and what are some best practices you can implement?
I’d also spend some time speaking with the internal stakeholders. What content do they see as their future growth channels? What direction is the company headed in the next year in terms of editorial voice and discretion?
I’d also start to dive into some of the basic analytics. What are their most popular topics, authors, and columns?
This should help give you an idea of what to feature prominently, and what can be shuffled further back. From there, it’s all about creating initial wireframes and low-res designs to test internally and externally.
I’m sure the researchers group will have more thoughts on the matter. However, I hope that sparks some thoughts about how you might go about breaking down the project into smaller, more purpose-driven and manageable chunks.